Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, unto Polycarp who is bishop of the
church of the Smyrnaens or rather who hath for his bishop God the
Father and Jesus Christ, abundant greeting. 

   Welcoming thy godly mind which is grounded as it were on an
immovable rock, I give exceeding glory that it hath been vouchsafed me
to see thy blameless face, whereof I would fain have joy in God. I
exhort thee in the grace wherewith thou art clothed to press forward in
thy course and to exhort all men that they may be saved. Vindicate
thine office in all diligence of flesh and of spirit. Have a care for
union, than which there is nothing better. Bear all men, as the Lord
also beareth thee. Suffer all men in love, as also thou doest. Give
thyself to unceasing prayers. Ask for larger wisdom than thou hast. Be
watchful, and keep thy spirit from slumbering. Speak to each man
severally after the manner of God. Bear the maladies of all, as a
perfect athlete. where there is more toil, there is much gain. 

   If thou lovest good scholars, this is not thankworthy in thee.
Rather bring the more pestilent to submission by gentleness. All wounds
are not healed by the same salve. Allay sharp pains by fomentations. Be
thou prudent as the serpent in all things and guileless always as the
dove. Therefore art thou made of flesh and spirit, that thou mayest
humor the things which appear before thine eyes; and as for the
invisible things, pray thou that they may be revealed unto thee; that
thou mayest be lacking in nothing, but mayest abound in every spiritual
gift. The season requireth thee, as pilots require winds or as a
storm-tossed mariner a haven, that it may attain unto God. Be sober, as
God's athlete. The prize is incorruption and life eternal, concerning
which thou also art persuaded. In all things I am devoted to thee--I
and my bonds which thou didst cherish. 

   Let not those that seem to be plausible and yet teach strange
doctrine dismay thee. Stand thou firm, as an anvil when it is smitten.
It is the part of a great athlete to receive blows and be victorious.
But especially must we for God's sake endure all things, that He also
may endure us. Be thou more diligent than thou art. Mark the seasons.
Await Him that is above every season, the Eternal, the Invisible, who
became visible for our sake, the Impalpable, the Impassible, who
suffered for our sake, who endured in all ways for our sake. 

   Let not widows be neglected. After the Lord be thou their protector.
Let nothing be done without thy consent; neither do thou anything
without the consent of God, as indeed thou doest not. Be steadfast. Let
meetings be held more frequently. Seek out all men by name. Despise not
slaves, whether men or women. Yet let not these again be puffed up, but
let them serve the more faithfully to the glory of God, that they may
obtain a better freedom from God. Let them not desire to be set free at
the public cost, lest they be found slaves of lust. 

   Flee evil arts, or rather hold thou discourse about these. Tell my
sisters to love the Lord and to be content with their husbands in flesh
and in spirit. In like manner also charge my brothers in the name of
Jesus Christ to love their wives, as the Lord loved the Church. If any
one is able to abide in chastity to the honor of the flesh of the Lord,
let him so abide without boasting. If he boast, he is lost; and if it
be known beyond the bishop, he is polluted. It becometh men and women
too, when they marry, to unite themselves with the consent of the
bishop, that the marriage may be after the Lord and not after
concupiscence. Let all things be done to the honor of God. 

   Give ye heed to the bishop, that God also may give heed to you. I am
devoted to those who are subject to the bishop, the presbyters, the
deacons. May it be granted me to have my portion with them in the
presence of God. Toil together one with another, struggle together, run
together, suffer together, lie down together, rise up together, as
God's stewards and assessors and ministers. Please the Captain in whose
army ye serve, from whom also ye will receive your pay. Let none of you
be found a deserter. Let your baptism abide with you as your shield;
your faith as your helmet; your love as your spear; your patience as
your body armor. Let your works be your deposits, that ye may receive
your assets due to you. Be ye therefore long-suffering one with another
in gentleness, as God is with you. May I have joy of you always. 

   Seeing that the church which is in Antioch of Syria hath peace, as
it hath been reported to me, through your prayers, I myself also have
been the more comforted since God hath banished my care; if so be I may
through suffering attain unto God, that I may be found a disciple
through your intercession. It becometh thee, most blessed Polycarp, to
call together a godly council and to elect some one among you who is
very dear to you and zealous also, who shall be fit to bear the name of
God's courier--to appoint him, I say, that he may go to Syria and
glorify your zealous love unto the glory of God. A Christian hath no
authority over himself, but giveth his time to God. This is God's work,
and yours also, when ye shall complete it: for I trust in the Divine
grace, that ye are ready for an act of well doing which is meet for
God. Knowing the fervor of your sincerity, I have exhorted you in a
short letter. 

   Since I have not been able to write to all the churches, by reason
of my sailing suddenly from Troas to Neapolis, as the Divine will
enjoineth, thou shalt write to the churches in front, as one possessing
the mind of God, to the intent that they also may do this same
thing--let those who are able send messengers, and the rest letters by
the persons who are sent by thee, that ye may be glorified by an ever
memorable deed--for this is worthy of thee. 

   I salute all by name, and especially the wife of Epitropus with her
whole household and her children's. I salute Attalus my beloved. I
salute him that shall be appointed to go to Syria. Grace shall be with
him always, and with Polycarp who sendeth him. I bid you farewell
always in our God Jesus Christ, in whom abide ye in the unity and
supervision of God. I salute Alce, a name very dear to me. Fare ye
well in the Lord.